The more this cost of living crisis draws on, the more luxuries we’re being advised to give up. Netflix, cups of coffee, and now take-away’s are now deemed wasteful commodities, and if we dare consume any on a tight budget, we’re almost shamed into believing our money woes exist because we had a footlong for lunch.
Treats are becoming less of a thing, as cash strapped Brits look for any way to save a pretty penny here or there. Prices have been soaring across the board in recent months, from petrol to energy bills and the cost of your shopping.
Yet as government ministers tell us to look at the supermarket value section, and be grateful for that, there are ways to lift those spirits and treat yourself to a take away without breaking the bank. Deals and discounts are out there.
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Simply follow our guide to help you shave the cost of your meal out with very little effort on your part. You can find hidden deals at your favourite fast food places if you know how – and you may never have to pay full price again!
The Chronicle report that each restaurant chain’s offers are different, they can broadly be broken down to the following categories:
1. Offers on receipts: With this type of offer, you’ll get a link to a survey on your receipt when you visit the restaurant. Keep the receipt, complete the questionnaire, and you usually get a code to write on your old receipt to hand it to the cashier when you want to use the discount. You usually have between 7-14 days to claim it.
2. NHS and student discounts: If you work for the NHS or are a student, you can get access to deals nobody else can. Generally, as long as you have an NHS email address, or you’re in some form of higher education, you’ll be able to get you hands on extra discounts. Some offers need a Blue Light Card or TOTUM student card – but these are easy to acquire if you’re entitled to one.
3. Loyalty Schemes: Even if you don’t eat at fast food restaurants that often, it’s still a good idea to sign yourself up to all the loyalty schemes, apps and mailing lists you can. Each time you order, scan your app or card and you’ll get an extra loyalty point.
4. Take a fresh look at the menu: Always order the same meal? You could be spending more than you need to. Restaurants like McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC have specific menus of cheaper items and it might be possible to tweak you order and make a big saving.
Here we have a look at what savings you might make at four of the UK’s favourite restaurant chains
Offers on receipts: McDonald’s offers a Big Mac & Fries for £1.99 (saving between £2-3), when you complete a 5 minute survey. Usual price is around £4.70 when buying the items separately, or around £4.80 for a meal deal, including a drink, which will cost you an extra £.1.09 on top of your £1.99.
NHS and student discounts: McDonald’s offers NHS workers 20% off through the McDonald’s app and students get a free Cheeseburger, Mayo Chicken or McFlurry when you buy a meal
Loyalty Schemes: Save £1-5 per meal by using the deals section on the McDonald’s app. Sample offers would be Chicken McNuggets or a Big Mac for 99p or sometimes £5 off a £20 spend. All offers can be found under the “deal” section on the app and you’ll also save .20% off your first order through the app if you’re new to sign up. McDonald’s is trialling a reward scheme currently.
Take a fresh look at the menu: McDonald’s offers a Saver menu which includes items such as a Cheeseburger and Mayo Chicken for 99p. You can get three Cheeseburgers (£2.97) for less than the price of one Big Mac, or three Mayo Chickens for less than the price of one Chicken Legend at around £4.09. Savers menu items can’t be made into a Meal Deal however, so if you want fries and a drink too, do the maths to work out the better deal.
Offers on receipts: Burger King gives you a free Whopper when you buy regular fries and a drink (which will cost around £3.18) and complete a short five-minute survey.
NHS and student discounts: None currently available
What’s your favourite fast food? Let us know in the comments
Loyalty Schemes: Burger King has an app loaded with a list of discounts including a £1.99 Whopper, 20 nuggets for £3.99 and two Chicken Royale meals for £8.99. The offers do change periodically, but you can use them as many times as you like.
Take a fresh look at the menu: The King Saver menu at Burger King is more limited than McDonald’s, but you can still get a cheeseburger for 99p, which is a good deal when all other burgers are £4+.
Offers on receipts: KFC gives you 15% off your next bill (as long as it’s over £5) when you do its survey. If you’re buying a Bargain Bucket or other high priced item, that could save you £2-3.
NHS and student discounts: NHS workers get a 20% discount and students get a free Snackbox when they spend £3+.
Loyalty Schemes: KFC offers app deals, such as three Hot Wings for £1.29. The chain also offers a loyalty scheme via the app, which gives you one stamp when you spend £3+, or two stamps when you spend £15+. Three stamps gets you a free side, seven stamps gets you a free snack and 11 stamps gets you £5 off your order.
Take a Fresh Look at the menu: The KFC Snackbox menu is small, but gets you a box of fries, and your choice between Popcorn Chicken, two Hot Wings, one Mini Breast Fillet or one Original Recipe Piece for £1.99, so it might be cheaper to get two Snackboxes or three between two people.. Most other KFC options will set you back £4+.
Offers on receipts:Subway will give you a free cookie for filling out its survey. It’s not the best offer, but it’s better than nothing.
NHS and student discounts: None currently available
Loyalty Schemes: Signing up to Subway Rewards gets your various freebies. You will get one point for every 10p spent and 100 points gets a free regular hot drink, 200 points gets a free side, 500 points gets a free 6 inch sub and 1,000 points gets a free footlong sub
Take a fresh look at the menu: Sharing a footlong sandwich is cheaper than getting two separate 6in subs, so this can be a saving if there’s two of you who both like the same filling.
While we have just focused on the four most popular chains, others can also offer good value deals on your local high street. For instance Taco Bell will give you 20% on your next meal when you fill in a survey on its receipts and students get free items or discounts at Greggs, Yo! Sushi and Taco Bell.